RATHBONE RETURNS FOR ABBOTSFORD, BUT CANUCKS LOSE 3-1 TO COLORADO
ABBOTSFORD, BC - The return of Abbotsford Canucks defenceman Jack Rathbone was one of the most anticipated ones of the season.
Rathbone, who was a high-touted prospect coming out of the NCAA’s Harvard University, was selected with the No. 95th-overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2017 NHL entry draft.
He had 14 goals and 39 assists in 61 games through his two seasons at Harvard University.
Now in 2021-22, Rathbone is having a remarkable breakout season with Abbotsford and has proven to be who many would consider the team’s best offensive defenceman.
Because little did many know, Abbotsford’s 2-1 loss to the Stockton Heat on Feb. 4 was going to be the beginning of something special for Rathbone. He assisted the team’s lone goal.
Just three nights later, he looked unstoppable, finishing with a goal and four assists in Abbotsford’s 8-5 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners.
The team continued to earn victories in their next three games and Rathbone had points in all of them. He had a combined two goals and and five assists, to be exact.
Abbotsford was then scheduled to visit the Bakersfield Condors at the Mechanics Bank Arena on Feb. 16. The Canucks were leading 2-1 after two periods and Rathbone continued to roll, assisting on both the team’s goals.
Then it happened.
At 8:59 of the third period, Condors forward Colton Sceviour viciously hit Rathbone into the boards. Sceviour was given a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct for board.
Rathbone, on the other hand, was left motionless and needed to be stretched off the ice. The building was silent in concern.
So was everyone watching at home and following on various social media networks, sending their thoughts and love to Rathbone. The messages of support continued to go on for weeks.
Thankfully, he was okay. It was an upper-body injury and just needed time to recover.
On Friday, as the Canucks were getting ready to play host against the Colorado Eagles at 7:00PM PST inside the confines of the Abbotsford Centre, it was announced just about four hours before puck drop, that Rathbone was fully recovered and was going to return to the lineup.
People were excited. It was the team’s Minor Hockey Night, too, where the youth of the sport were being celebrated.
But most importantly, people were relieved.
Not the fact that Rathbone was a name who many have been watching since Vancouver drafted him in 2017, but that he was okay after an extremely scary and dangerous hit.
He was healthy and was going to don the Abbotsford sweater once again. He was going to continue to go on a tear, like he has all season.
Rathbone, after all, was still on a six-game point streak going into the game against the Eagles, with three goals and 10 assists, in that span.
Abbotsford lost 3-1 to Colorado, but Rathbone extended his point streak to seven games, assisting on Abbotsford’s lone goal which was scored by forward Phillip Di Giuseppe at 17:51 of the third period. It marked Giuseppe’s 12th goal of the season. Forward Yushiroh Hirano got the secondary assist.
“Jack had some rust to blow off,” Canucks’ head coach Trent Cull said. “But he did some good things out there for us.”
Rathbone being healthy, skating and in the blue and green was a beautiful sight to see.
What a relief it was.
The Abbotsford Canucks (25-19-3-1) and Colorado Eagles (29-17-3-3) will rematch at the Abbotsford Centre on Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00PM PST.
NEWS AND NOTES
Phillip Di Giuseppe, who scored his 12th goal of the season, now has points in consecutive games. He had an assist in Abbotsford’s 3-0 victory over the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.
Aside from his seven-game point streak, Rathbone is also on assist streak in just as many games. He has 11 assists in that span.